The Voice of Firestone was a popular radio (and later television) program broadcast by NBC that brought classical music to households across the United States from 1928 through 1957. Among its most notable performers was Pennsylvania’s Thomas L. Thomas (1911-1983).
Welsh Traditional Songs by Thomas L. Thomas, album cover (circa 1940), Thomas L. Thomas papers (Collection 3100), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Thomas Llyfnwy Thomas immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 12, leaving his native Wales and settling in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Though he qualified to become an engineering draftsman as a young man, he decided to pursue a musical career. His rich baritone landed him a position with the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1937, and his big break before national audiences came in 1942 when he first appeared on The Voice of Firestone.
Thomas L. Thomas side-view portrait, photograph (undated), Thomas L. Thomas papers (Collection 3100), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
He performed on the show regularly until the end of its original run in 1957, appearing alongside legendary musical talents such as Eleanor Steber and Dorothy Warenskjold. Though NBC tried to reboot the show in 1963, a drop in popularity led to its swift cancellation.
Thomas L. Thomas headshot, photograph by D. Beatty, 7525 North Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale, AZ (undated), Thomas L. Thomas papers (Collection 3100), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
HSP is home to the Thomas L. Thomas papers. The collection contains audio-visual materials, photographs, plaques, posters and performance publications documenting the Welsh singer's life and career.